Douglas DC-3 goes missing minutes after takeoff in Colombia

A 77-year-old Aliansa Aerolineas Douglas DC-3 went missing minutes after taking off from Villavicencio La Vanguardia Airport (VVC), Columbia.

The vintage aircraft, registered as HK-2820, was supposed to perform a test flight on July 8, 2021, after undergoing repair. However, around 5 minutes after takeoff from Villavicencio La Vanguardia Airport (VVC), Columbia, the local Air Traffic Control (ATC) lost radar and radio contact with the plane. Before disappearing, the flight crew of 3 members reportedly declared an emergency and it was the last sign the ATC received from the cockpit. 

“At 07:05, local time, radar and communications contact were lost with the airplane Douglas DC-3, registration HK-2820, of the company Aliansa,” the Civil Aviation Authority of Colombia announced in its statement. “The plane departed at 7:00, local time, from Vanguardia de Villavicencio Airport. Immediately, search and rescue personnel from Aeronautica Civil and other help organizations launched an operation to try to locate the aircraft and the crew. Preliminary information indicates that there were three people on board the aircraft, including the crew, all workers of Aliansa.” 

Suspecting that the aircraft might be found somewhere around the area of Guatiquia River Canyon, the Civil Defence of Colombia sent the rescue teams for search. Despite reports from local media outlets that the plane was found in a river bed in Guatiquia, the Colombian authorities have not confirmed the information.

The day the HK-2820 disappeared, a Colombian Air Force UH-60 helicopter reportedly received signals from the emergency locator installed in the aircraft, but due to complicated weather conditions, the UH-60 was unable to check the area. 

The missing DC-3 is owned by Aliansa Aerolineas, a Colombian air carrier, which is focused on cargo and passenger charter flights operating a fleet consisting of three Douglas DC-3s and a single DC-3TP plane, indicated in the airline‘s website. The company has been operating a monogamous fleet of iconic planes for 25 years.

Manufactured in 1944, on the day of the accident the vintage HK-2820 was counting 77 years in active service. Being praised for great load capacity and reliability by its owner, the aircraft suffered a runway excursion in August 2019, when after landing at La Chorrera Airport (LCR), Colombia it lost control due to the flight crew’s failure to release the tail skate while taxiing. 


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